If the U.S. military budget were a person, its doctor would certainly diagnose it as "morbidly obese," and would order a strict diet! Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the annual military budget has bulged from $300 billion to more than $420 billion.
This enormous "weight gain" doesn't even include the costs of fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which Congress funds through emergency "supplemental" bills. This allows lawmakers to bypass the regular budgeting process that requires spending increases to be offset by cuts elsewhere.
In early 2005, President Bush requested another $75 billion for war efforts. This comes on the heels of previous requests of $27 billion (2002), $75 billion (2003), $87 billion (2004) and $25 billion already requested for 2005.
In Iraq alone, the United States has already spent $158 billion -- roughly $225 million a day for the past two years.
How might this same amount have been invested in other programs? For $158 billion, the nation could have instead
Of course, governments alone can't fix all the world's problems. But governments should create safety nets, not chaos. The proper role of government is to help fashion a network of programs and policies that allow people to flourish (Psalm 72:5-7; Romans 13:3-4).
The problem with war is not only that it pilfers precious resources from positive programs. It also inflicts further destruction. In addition to the cost of fighting a war, there's the cost of burying the dead, caring for the wounded and treating the traumatized. There's the cost of rebuilding all that has been destroyed including local economies. Finally, there's the cost of lost earning power, as many families struggle to survive with one fewer wage earner.
Spending for war is a double negative. And, unlike math, when it comes to war, two negatives don't make a positive.